Updated: Jun 4, 2019
June 16, 2018.
I’ve been a bit anxious about sharing this next part of my story. I haven’t opened up to many people about the day we lost Dad as I still struggle to understand why we lost him. But, I do remember this day so clearly, today I’m going to walk you through the day my world changed forever.
Dad took his last breath on June 16th, 2018. I had been holding his hand for the 2 weeks leading up to this morning. Towards the end of Dad’s last 2 weeks, I spent 3 nights by his side. Mum kept telling me I didn’t have to stay, and to go back to the unit where we were staying. Mentally I knew that was best, but I couldn’t physically let go of Dad’s hand and walk out of the room. Having the possibility of not getting to see Dad again hanging over my head, I knew in my heart that I wasn’t going anywhere.
The night before he passed I sat with mum counting his breaths. There were 3 long breaths at the start of the night but as it got later they became more frequent and shorter, with long pauses between each. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.. 8… We then held our breath, hoping that it wasn’t his last.
It was around 7:30am when I woke to Mum in tears. I remember her words and they ring out in my mind often. She said “He’s gone now darling, he’s at peace.”
After the nurse came in and confirmed his passing, I called Aunty Paula and without saying a word she knew his time had come. I tried to hold myself together as we walked into the unit to tell Belle, Charlie and Ned that Dad had found peace. As hard as the news was to comprehend we knew the day was coming, that we would have to say our final goodbye and let go of his hand one last time. This wasn’t the first time we as a family had dealt with the loss of a loved one, so in sense we were lucky as we had dealt with our grief as a family before.
My youngest brother Ned took the news the hardest. He was so mad at the world for taking Dad so soon and I could never find the words to comfort him. Seeing Ned so mad at the world, made me mad at the world. How could this happen? Why? Like Mum said, “I wasn’t done spending time with him.”
We spent the morning with family in Dubbo, I am so grateful for my beautiful extended family. Without them by my side throughout Dad’s battle, I know it would have been a lot more challenging.
We left Dubbo around lunchtime that day to head home. I took Charlie in Grandma and Pop’s car. We didn’t say much, it was almost complete silence.
Later that night we all sat around the bench and gave a toast to the strongest and most important man in our lives. We finished his last bottle of small batch rum and remembered him as we sat together, it almost felt like we were sitting there waiting for him to walk in the door, in his blue RB Sellars shirt, covered in dirt and grease from just another day on the farm. But he didn’t walk in.
Returning home without Dad was strange. I knew that he wasn’t home with us but I still woke up every morning expecting to see him in his chair or at the coffee machine.
I don’t have a lot of words to describe Dad’s loss, I’m still quite numb towards the subject. It’s almost been a year, but I’m still waiting for him to call.
We consider ourselves lucky, Dad was himself to the very end. Not many get to know their final minutes with a loved one, but we did. Dad’s spirit remained high until the end. He never once let us believe that he was going to find peace so soon. He was still his cheeky self. The Wednesday before he passed, it was just the six of us in his room. Dad was on a lot of medication to keep him out of pain, so he was making many random comments, telling us he needed to feed the cattle and making sure we told Col and Merg what needed to be done. But I think our favourite moment throughout this whole part was when we were all telling Dad we loved him, and he was only talking back in few words, majority of those words being “yes”. Charlie decided he would take advantage of the situation and asked if he could have his ute. Dad’s response was very clear and to the point, “I don’t think so mate” he replied, we all laughed.
I wanted to make clear in this particular part of my story, that though we did lose Dad physically, he is still with us every day. I know that every day when I wake, I wash my face and do my hair before breakfast, because I know if I walked into the kitchen with an unwashed face and my hair not done, Alan would have something to say. Every time I go to get in my car, I check my oil and make sure I have spare water in the car, because I know he’s watching. I am so lucky that I have 2 angels watching down on me, making sure I am ok, every day.